CollegeFootballNews.com 20th Anniversary Ranking College Football Playoff & BCS Era 20 National Champions: No. 5, 2005 Texas Longhorns
How do the 20 national champions in the College Football Playoff & BCS rank based on how good their seasons were?
CFN, College Football Playoff & BCS Era National Champions Ranking: No. 5, 2005 Texas Longhorns
CollegeFootballNews.com is turning 20 this season, coincidentally starting in 1998 when the Bowl Championship Series era kicked off.
With the BCS, no matter how the teams got there, it was finally No. 1 vs. No. 2 for the national title – that wasn’t a given before – and eventually, it all morphed into the College Football Playoff starting in the 2014 season.
Based on the tried, true, tested and tweaked CFN Historical Season Ranking Formula (criteria breakdown at the bottom of all this), welcome to the ranking of all 20 national champions in the era.
This isn’t about who the most talented or the best national champions were since 1998 – that’s debatable. This is about who had the best and most impressive seasons – the more wins over great teams, the higher the score.
2005 Texas Season
The tone was set the year before in Pasadena. Texas might have lost to Oklahoma in 2004 to miss out on playing for the national title, but it came up with a brilliant 38-37 Rose Bowl win over Michigan thanks to an outstanding game from Vince Young.
The Longhorn quarterback ran for 192 yards and four scores, and threw for another touchdown, but as good as he was, and as strong as Texas was coming into 2006, it was the USC era.
From Matt Leinart, to Reggie Bush, to Pete Carroll, to the rock star status of the program, the Trojans came into the season as the easy No. 1 choice after winning the 2004 national title. USC was No. 1 in both polls, and Texas No. 2.
And so the narrative of the season was there. It was destiny. It was going to be USC vs. Texas for the national title in the BCS Championship in the Rose Bowl.
But first, Young and the Longhorns had to survive a trip to Ohio State, coming away with a 25-22 win in a battle to the finish.
And that was it. No one else would come close to the loaded Texas squad until the BCS Championship.
Oklahoma was a mere speedbump in a 45-12 blasting. Oklahoma State put up a little bit of a fight, and lost 47-28. Texas A&M was solid, and lost 40-29.
In all, the Longhorns won all 11 regular season games scoring 40 points or more against everyone but Ohio State.
Meanwhile, as good as USC was, it needed the Bush Push to beat Notre Dame, struggled a bit against Arizona State, and got caught up in a 50-42 shootout against Fresno State. But the Trojans got the job done going 12-0, getting to the national title game on a 34-game winning streak.
Could Colorado provide a challenge in the Big 12 Championship? One 70-3 win later – and a Young loss to Reggie Bush for the Heisman – it had all come together.
There wasn’t any wavering. USC was the BCS No. 1 from the start of the standings, and Texas was No. 2. No one else was unbeaten, and there wasn’t any controversy over No. 3 Penn State, or anyone else. The BCS Championship had the right matchup that everyone wanted to see.
In one of the greatest games of all-time, Texas toppled the giant, winning 41-38 highlighted by a few key defensive stops, some fortunate breaks, and a decent day from Young.
30-for-40, 267 yards, 200 rushing yards, three touchdowns, a two-point conversion, and a national title – creating the gold standard for historic college football performances.
– Yes, Reggie Bush really did win the 2005 Heisman, and it wasn’t all that close. He beat Young 2,541 points to 1,608, and 784 first place votes to 79. Matt Leinart came in third with 18 first place votes.
– Yeah, Young was the star of the Longhorns, but it was a loaded team across the board. Six Longhorns were drafted in 2006, seven were taken in 2007, and five more were selected in 2008.
– Texas came really, really close to getting into the top four. The extra games from the College Football Playoff national champs, and the high-scoring blowouts from the No. 4 team, were just enough to put the 2005 Longhorns at five. The margin of victory was the second-largest among the 20 national champions, finishing only behind 2013 Florida State.
Opponent Final Record in Parentheses
Sept. 3 Texas 60, Louisiana 3 (6-5)
Sept. 10 Texas 25, at Ohio State 22 (10-2)
Sept. 17 Texas 51, Rice 10 (1-10)
Oct. 1 Texas 51, at Missouri 20 (7-5)
Oct. 8 Texas 45, Oklahoma 12 (8-4)
Oct. 15 Texas 42, Colorado 17 (7-6)
Oct. 22 Texas 52, Texas Tech 17 (9-3)
Oct. 29 Texas 47, at Oklahoma State 28 (4-7)
Nov. 5 Texas 62, at Baylor 0 (5-6)
Nov. 12 Texas 66, Kansas 14 (7-5)
Nov. 25 Texas 40, at Texas A&M 29 (5-6)
Big 12 Championship
Dec. 3 Texas 70, Colorado 3 (7-6)
BCS Championship: Rose Bowl
Jan. 4 Texas 41, USC 38 (12-1)
CFN Historical Season Rankings Breakdown
Wins: 13 (Louisiana, at Ohio State, Rice, at Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas Tech, at Oklahoma State, at Baylor, Kansas, at Texas A&M, Big 12 Championship vs. Colorado, BCS Championship vs. USC)
Quality Wins: 9 (Louisiana, at Ohio State, at Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas Tech, Kansas, at Texas A&M, Big 12 Championship vs. Colorado, BCS Championship vs. USC)
Elite Wins Score: 3 (at Ohio State, BCS Championship vs. USC)
Bad Wins: 1 (Rice)
Elite Losses: 0
Point Differential: Texas 652, Opponents 213
Winning %: 1.000
TOTAL SCORE: 30.140
The Season Formula’s Components
If you win, everything else falls into place. Each win counts as 1.
If you lose, everything stinks. Each loss counts as -1.
3. Quality Wins
The number of wins over teams that finished with a winning record. Each Quality Win counts as 1.
4. Elite Wins
The number of wins over teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each Elite Win counts as 1 with a road win over an Elite team getting an extra 0.5.
Also counting as 1 is a road win over a team that finished with three losses or fewer (but the extra 0.5 isn’t added). A win over a team that finishes with three losses in a bowl game also gets counts as 1.
5. Bad Loss
The number of losses to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a loss to an FCS (DI-AA) team. Each loss counts as minus-1. Take away an additional 0.5 for a Bad Loss at home.
6. Bad Win
The number of wins to teams that finished with three wins or fewer, or a win over a an FCS (D-IAA) team. Each win counts as -0.25
7. Elite Loss
The number of losses to teams that finished with two losses or fewer. Each loss counts as 0.25.
8. Point Differential
Points for minus points against divided by 100.
9. Winning Percentage
Created as a sort of tie-breaker, the winning % is added to the total score.
Photo courtesy of University of Texas
CFN 20th Anniversary lists compiled by Rich Cirminiello, Pete Fiutak, Phil Harrison & Russ Mitchell